In Spenzo We Trust - Review

"Growing up in Chicago, you’re forced to grow up quick, because of the environment, what’s going on in Chicago in certain areas… it’s violence, it’s real stuff going on, and if you want to achieve, you have to be able to see that… and understand that it’s real out here." - Spenzo

I first heard of Spenzo last fall through a unique guerrilla marketing campaign that saw hundreds of stickers and the occasional poster plastered on streetlight and traffic light posts across the South Side, posing the question “Ain’t U Spenzo?” Since then, his profile has risen exponentially. This summer’s mixtape In Spenzo We Trust cements his position as one of the Chicago rap scene’s most promising young musicians. 

While he lacks the lyrical sophistication of critically acclaimed South Side contemporaries Tree and Chance The Rapper, who also released sophomore records earlier this summer, Spenzo compensates with the delivery of a much more seasoned rapper. Like his 2012 debut Ain’t You Spenzo, his latest mixtape is a diverse, if not particularly focused, set of tracks that packs the same energetic punch as Chief Keef’s drill music while rising above the violent themes that birthed the epithet “Chiraq.” In album opener “Englewood,” one of the more introspective moments of the mixtape, Spenzo calls out rappers preoccupied with the violence of the dope game, spitting, “You so busy up here trying to be a hood n***a, forgot the objective is to get out the hood, n***a.”

And Spenzo has indeed done well for himself. Most of the songs on Trust are centered on his recent rise to fame and wealth, which is understandable for the eager 17-year-old who just wants to “live for the moment.”

Supported by a roster of up-and-coming producers, including present or former Chief Keef associates Sonny Digital, Metro Boomin, and Young Chop, Trust should yield hits to rival Spenzo’s popular YouTube freestyles “Understand Me" and "Go In”. Highlights include “Different Now,” which features Rockie Fresh, the only guest rapper on the mixtape and a fellow star in Chicago rap’s newest generation. Proud but not boastful “Shake Me Down,” featuring a sped-up sample of Cage the Elephant that fits Spenzo’s cadence like a glove, may well be the best track on the record. Contemplative “Heaven Can Wait" provides a poignant reflection on the violence that saw 47 shootings and at least 11 fatalities across Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, the same violence that plagued his childhood in the Englewood neighborhood. 

Spenzo’s hard work and ambition are already beginning to pay off. His latest appearance was on a track by L.E.P. Bogus Boys, featured alongside long-established heavy hitters Young Jeezy, T.I., and Ma$e. 

Not every track on In Spenzo We Trust is as imaginative or original as the high points. He too frequently resorts to repetitive choruses (see: “Swiper,” “At The Moment”), and his lyrical themes are often similarly repetitive, but his energy and effort level have deservedly earned him recognition as a potential star in the making. I’m already looking forward to his next mixtape, but we’ll certainly hear from him before then. It won’t be long before no one has to ask the question “Ain’t U Spenzo?” anymore - they’ll know. 

image

Listen to In Spenzo We Trust here.

Author: Dylan West

priceonomics:

At Priceonomics, we are fascinated by stolen bicycles. Put simply, why the heck do so many bicycles get stolen? It seems like a crime with very limited financial upside for the thief, and yet bicycle theft is rampant in cities like San Francisco (where we are based). What is the economic…

(Source: priceonomics)

priceonomics:

Editor’s note: The following guest post was written by Ryan Finlay who blogs at www.recraigslist.com.

The scrap yard’s electromagnetic steel excavator picked up my two steel die cast molds and put them on the scale. 1,240 pounds of steel! That meant $179.80 in my wallet for an hour of…

(Source: priceonomics)

It’s About the Why, Not the What

Every business sells something, whether it is a product or service, people or tools. Every business is trying to sell you something. It is an instructive thing to keep in mind as a customer to a business, but even more relevant to the burgeoning business owner. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you are selling everything, all the time. You have to sell yourself, your idea, your vision, your business to investors, to your team, to customers, to suppliers, to everybody you talk to. So that’s the first step; you have to first acknowledge if you want your business to be a success, you have to sell it and sell it to everyone, all the time.

Now I’m using selling here as a broad term. Selling can be you going door to door. Selling can be you cold calling. Selling can be you going to conventions. Selling can be AdWords and SEO. Selling can be word of mouth. Selling can be anything that builds awareness and makes people want to buy from your business. Now sales takes tenacity; it takes guts and fortitude; and it’s not easy. But you have to do it and you have to be your company’s first salesperson.

Read More

Best times to send emails.
Author: Shao-Yi Qian

Best times to send emails.

Author: Shao-Yi Qian

T-Rex Cards

I love free things – who doesn’t? Whenever I hear about a special promotion where I can get something for practically free, I’m on that right away. To people like me, free promotional giveaways can be a great way to gain exposure and generate long-lasting brand loyalty. For example, that’s part of the reason I almost exclusively use Bing for my search engine needs. Recently on Reddit, T-Rex Cards posted a promotion offering 100 free business cards, shipping included! That is the best deal for business cards I have ever seen. Their website is not hyper modern, but it is perfectly and easily usable, plus their prices are great! I have been looking to get some free business cards for quite a while, so I am going to jump on this opportunity and so should you!

All that is required is a quick blurb about T-Rex on some sort of public site and they’ll send you a promotional code! I’ll update on the process and the quality of the cards once I get them.

Promotion Link

peterspear:

“In praise of things that do not change” @mweigel

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s gonna change in the next 10 years?’ I almost never get the question: ‘What’s NOT going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the most important of the two. Because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.”
Jeff Bezos

peterspear:

In praise of things that do not change” @mweigel

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s gonna change in the next 10 years?’ I almost never get the question: ‘What’s NOT going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the most important of the two. Because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.”

Jeff Bezos

(via goodideaexchange)

"If the work you’re promoting on social media isn’t getting enough traction to build a customer base, the answer is seldom that you need to promote it more. What it probably means is that you need to do better work—or at least refocus that work to be more valuable to its intended audience."

The key to great work? More doing, less promoting. (via fastcompany)

In most situations as a startup, there should rarely be a need to spend exhaustive effort or expense marketing your product. If your product is good enough, your business will grow organically. Of course there are quite a few exceptions, but most exceptions will not have much success using social media. With business like Vintage Stories, the key isn’t social media, it’s pounding the pavement and the telephone lines.

Author: Shao-Yi Qian

"“Everyone” isn’t an audience. “Everyone” is a byproduct of an incredibly successful thing that was made for a far more specific bunch of people. Don’t ever make something for “Everyone” make it for someone. And make that person love it."

Dan Sinker. Knight Mozilla OpenNews Project. “Oh my god, don’t make things for “Everyone.”

When you begin with “Everyone” you’re just stuck: How do you make any honest decisions? How do you solve any real problems? You don’t. You start to invent people and you start to invent their problems and it’s amazing because those people and those problems line up almost exactly with what you’re building and how you’re thinking about it—imagine that. Lying to yourself is amazing for productivity.

Real audience is hard. Solving real problems is f****** bananas. But it’s the only way you make something that lasts, because you made something that someone actually cared about.

(via peterspear)

Great point. Like I touched on in my Focus blog post, one of the most important things to do as a startup is to clearly define a narrow target market and a clear and simple value proposition. Too many startups try to do too much too soon. Even after you launch a successful product, any improvements should always improve overall revenue/profit. Whether it’s better service to improve word of mouth and rate of repeat customers or adding services/products to upsell your existing customers, the end goal (long term or short term) should be tied to your bottom line. Don’t make the mistake of giving up long term viability of your business to make a quick buck and at the same time don’t make the mistake of adding bells and whistles without a clear goal.

Author: Shao-Yi Qian

(via goodideaexchange)

startupquote:

Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once.
- Drew Houston

#Truth
Author: Shao-Yi Qian

startupquote:

Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once.

- Drew Houston

#Truth

Author: Shao-Yi Qian

(via goodideaexchange)